I'm a new member, and my my official diagnosis (as of a week or so ago) is DDD of my cervical spine, particularly of the discs between C4 and C7 (the latter two are slightly herniated). My doctor says this was triggered by an accident that I had over six months ago--there goes my expectation that this was temporary whiplash (which my first doctor had been telling me while also ignoring my severe pain levels). At this point, I'm on Mobic every day, with Tramadol as pain relief when I need it, and a soft collar, TENS unit, and heat packs for when I want. I'm constantly between a pain level 2 and 5, and have made a lot of daily concessions to my pain. I had two rounds of trigger point injections done (again under the pretense of whiplash) in January and March. I'm still in daily pain, particularly when I use my computer for long periods of time or have to sit and listen to things for a while (i.e. more than an hour or so), and my social life has been affected.
The hard thing for me right now is what to do in the long and short term--my doctor did a great job at laying out my options: epidural injections, continuing doing what I'm doing with little hope for significant pain relief, or surgery to fuse all three vertebrae together. I'm feeling at a total loss because I'm 23 and about to graduate with my Bachelor's. I've had to pull a ton of strings and ask for a lot of accommodations to be able to finish this year and graduate, and until this diagnosis I had been planning and expecting to start my application to medical school this summer. Starting off my post-college life with a significant chronic pain problem is certainly going to be a challenge, and for that I'm trying to investigate surgery as an option, but I'm nervous about what it could mean in the long-term, especially because I'm in my early 20s.